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NATO Responds Harshly To Azerbaijani Intransigence --> 13 September 2004 -- NATO has canceled military exercises that were scheduled to start this month in Azerbaijan after authorities there objected to the participation of Armenian officers.

NATO spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ludger Terbrueggen told RFE/RL's Armenian Service today that the plan was scrapped after Baku refused to issue the Armenian troops visas.

"The reason is that Azerbaijan will not give visas to the soldiers and officers of Armenia," Terbrueggen said.

NATO's decision to scrap the maneuvers comes after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on 11 September that he is opposed to Armenian troops being on Azerbaijan's soil.

Armenian-backed forces drove Azerbaijan's army out of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s in a war that killed 30,000 people and left about 1 million homeless.

A cease-fire was signed in 1994, but no agreement has been reached on the territory's final status.